I believe the Rev. Bryan Griem was too hard on atheists in the “In Theory” section on Feb. 19 titled “Should the military test spirituality?”
He suggested they shouldn't write in the section at all. From what I know, the world is at least 10% atheist, which would be about 600 million people. If you include Buddhists as atheists, since from what I know Buddhists don't believe in God or think of Buddha as a god, that's another billion people.
In terms of sheer numbers, I would think atheists deserve a seat at the table in any discussion of these very deep, important matters. I would also guess that for most atheists, their position is as important to them as Griem's Christianity is to him.
He suggests that atheists don't believe in “the spirit.” From what I know, the “In Theory” section isn't specifically about discussions of “the spirit.” Truthfully, I don't know that people across the planet even agree on what “the spirit” might be, or whether it exists.
If he's just talking about spiritual beliefs, I think atheists are looking for something in life that approximates a spiritually sound, wholesome course, even if it's just to enjoy life, do good, be intelligent, etc.
I will tell Griem that it's hard to be an atheist, at least in America, as one feels like a minority, and it's always hard to be in the minority. So show some empathy, please.